Carom Seeds (Ajwain)

he spices of India are famous all over the world for adding taste and flavour to a variety of traditional Indian dishes. Just as all the other Indian spices, carom seeds have their own special way of adding flavour to the dish. They belong to the family of Apiaceae plants. Carom seeds are called ‘Ajwain’ in India and resemble cumin seeds in their appearance. However, the size of these seeds is smaller than cumin seeds. They have a strong fragrance and are similar to thyme in taste, although stronger in flavour. You can use whole carom seeds as well as grind them to a powder. If you want to use them as a powder, it is recommended to buy them and grind them at home.

The usage of carom seeds in garnishing the dishes vary from one region to another. However, the use of these seeds are particularly popular in the northern part of the country, and thus, you will find the presence of carom seeds in many North Indian dishes as compared to other regions.

Carom seeds are popularly used in ‘Tadka’ or tempering pulses and vegetables. This is a process in which you heat the oil and add various spices to leave their flavour and add fragrance to the dish. Along with other spices, small quantities of whole carom seeds are used for tempering dishes. Alternatively, you can use powdered ajwain for garnishing purposes while cooking vegetables. Carom seeds are also widely used to add flavour and taste to ‘paranthas’. They provide a distinct flavour and smell to the ‘paranthas’ and helping them be more digestible at the same time.

Carom seeds work as good preservatives and thus they are frequently used in pickles. These seeds are also known for facilitating digestion and are often used as a digestive after heavy and rich meals. All you need to do is simply chew the seeds! However, you can mix a little bit of sugar to make them taste better. Usually, the raw seeds are quite pungent to chew. You can also boil carom seeds in water and wait till the water has become half. This water is known to be a very good digestive and keeps all indigestion and acidity related problems away. If you are suffering from cold, you can mix carom seeds with water and take the steam after boiling them. Like all other Indian spices, carom seeds also continue to be known for their multiple usages in the Indian cuisine as well as other health-related aspects.

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